Fables and myth come from the collective soul of humankind, making their relevance to the present immutable regardless of culture and time. The heart of Uncloudy Day springs from Japanese folklore, shaded with southern legend, and is set in a dark, magical 1930s Alabama that never was.
Mimi, of Madame Fujikitsu’s Oriental Mystic Show fame, is an egotistical “European” vaudeville star who seduces, or rather bewitches, Earl, a widowed storeowner and the father of Purity, a young girl stricken with cerebral palsy. Mimi barges into their world, claiming to have distant relatives in the mountains nearby, and brings along her coddled sickly son and two mysterious mute assistants from India and Japan.
Mimi and Earl abruptly marry, and soon she brings national recognition to the small town with her charity performances at the local school. But her childish “bad side” increasingly shows as she regularly succumbs to dangerous—and sometimes deadly—fits of rage.
Maria is a naïve, beautiful, mulatto schoolteacher, whiling away her time with personal demons in her family’s crumbling plantation home. She tries to repress her growing feelings for Earl and also protect the young Purity from Mimi’s abuse, having promised her best friend, Purity’s mother, before she died to watch over the child.
Nine-year-old Purity is forced to become even more self-reliant as Earl, her only loving parent, slowly disintegrates under Mimi’s spell, and we gradually discover that beneath her stepmother’s human veneer lies a deluded and dangerous ancient fox spirit who has returned to Alabama to start a family.
The innocent heart of a “handicapped,” yet magically gifted, girl, guided by the loving wisdom of her deceased mother’s ghost, sets in motion a chain reaction where the other characters must literally wake up and shore up their courage to fight for love in its truest form.
Uncloudy Day is designed like an atmospheric, black-and-white, early “talkie”—complete with crackling sound, matte paintings, and rear-screen projection—a 1930s’ story told in the language of its era. The tale incorporates silent movie vignettes from Purity’s mind, vaudeville acts, and Japanese bunraku (puppet theatre) sequences. Mimi’s role should be played by a male actor passing as a woman. Though often tongue-in-cheek and intentionally melodramatic, Uncloudy Day is not a running joke; rather, its style is affectionately utilized to convey a message of self-actualization: listen for the song in your heart, and pray for the courage to sing it.
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